MARBLE FALLS — What’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to convincing tourists to visit Marble Falls?
Convincing them the city exists.
Those were the results of a recent tourism survey conducted by Austin marketing firm Door Number 3, which presented the report at Monday’s City Council meeting.
And, while it was revealed that 68 percent of 200 Texas travelers were "not likely" to visit Marble Falls, Door Number 3 representative Suzanne Kyba said the situation is easier to remedy than most think.
"They’re not likely to travel to a place that they’ve never heard of," Kyba told the council, noting 42 percent of respondents haven’t heard of the city. "The No. 1 reason people won’t visit is unfamiliarity. That’s easy to overcome."
The council hired Door Number 3 in January, using more than $100,000 in hotel/motel occupancy-tax funds to pay for the survey and accompanying marketing that’s expected to begin this summer.
Kyba said the firm — which recently oversaw a successful advertising campaign promoting the Alamo in San Antonio — hopes to make Marble Falls an attractive proposition for overnight trippers from across Texas.
She said the proposed campaign — which must still be approved by the council once it’s ready — will likely focus on the area’s natural attractions, scenic beauty and outdoor activities.
"Nature needs to permeate everything," she said.
Kyba said Door Number 3’s marketing team is working to build the ad campaign piece-by-piece, adding ads will target Dallas/Forth Worth, Austin, San Antonio and parts of West Texas.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council extended a measure allowing businesses to advertise with outdoor banners, temporarily suspending a rule that normally prohibits the signs.
The council also voted to refinance about $1.5 million in bonds from 1996 and 2000, opting to seek a lower interest rate for an estimated savings of about $71,000.
Council members also passed a rule regulating for-profit concessions at city parks and held a public hearing on an ordinance prohibiting alcohol sales within 300 feet of a school, church or hospital.
The next council meeting is set for 6 p.m. April 26 in council chambers, 800 Third St.